There’s a lot happening in the music world, and we here at Heavy Blog try our very best to keep up with it! Like the vast majority of heavy music fans, our tastes are incredibly vast, with our 3X3s in each Playlist Update typically covering numerous genres and sometimes a different style in each square. While we have occasionally covered non-metal topics in past blog posts, we decided that a dedicated column was warranted in order to more completely recommend all of the music that we have been listening to. Unmetal Monday is a weekly column which covers noteworthy tracks and albums from outside the metal universe, and we encourage you all to share your favorite non-metal picks from the week in the comments. This week, we’ll be highlighting a few albums and tracks that struck our fancy over the past few weeks. Head past the jump to dial down the distortion.
Art is less concerned with clear borders or delimitation. In fact, it thrives where uncertainty flourishes, giving us a wordless dictionary to help us understand, empathize, and connect with phenomena too nebulous for a direct approach. The artist (and this is no original thought, as reading any number of countless thinkers on aesthetics will show you) is more of a mediator than an explainer, someone who is able to speak both the odd un-language of art and the odd language of our daily lives. Ulver have always understood this. From their black metal roots, channeling the wild indifference of nature, and through their by-now countless transformations, they have served as a unique trumpet for the unintelligible and yet impossible to ignore intonations that flash ceaselessly across the skies of our culture.
Angry “post”punks from Bristol, IDLES’ new album Brutalism starts with someone being called a bastard before laucnhing headlong into a pulsing drumbeat and sinewy guitar line. Then that voice. Sid Vicious, Johnny Rotten, Crass. Rarely do we get a band that actually lives up to the praise and connotation of being linked to the actual classic lineage of punk but then there’s these guys. Fuck and you.
When I originally launched Kvlt Kolvmn back in 2015, my intention was to create an HLT-style outlet for all of the noteworthy releases I find while digging around for underground black metal. But as you can tell by the singular installment linked above…that didn’t end up happening. I never stopped my constant conquest for new BM, though, and I figured a new year would be a great opportunity to compile all of my findings in one place and jot down why I think they’re absolutely worth our readership’s time and attention. So here we are with Kvlt Kolvmn, Take Two – a monthly round-up of my top 10 favorite BM releases from the past 30 days. There’s a fair amount of variety here in terms of where these bands/one-man projects are from and the music they’re churning out, and my hope is you’ll find at least one of these albums worth your time (and, potentially, support). And while this might be self-explanatory, please comment with any releases I’ve missed out on but are definitely worth a spin.
With Heavy Blog having changed the kind of content we publish and how we publish it, we’ve decided to retire our recurring Unmetal Monday column in favor of more ongoing/mercurial coverage of unmetal genres like indie rock, alternative, EDM, and more. One of the side effects of this is that we no longer had a central place to write about new music and albums from these kinds of artists/bands in a more informal way – things we might want to talk about but not necessarily in long-form. In light of that and our tradition of combining certain metal releases into groups to form “Rapidfire Reviews,” we’ve established this semi-regular column to take three recent or upcoming releases from the world of “indie” in the pejorative sense and offer some quick takes on them. In our latest Indie Rapidfire Roundup, contributor Mike McMahan and editors Nick Cusworth and Scott Murphy offer their thoughts on three very different, yet all well-anticipated albums: La Sera’s Queens, Nicolas Jaar’s Sirens and Preoccupations self-titled debut.
Saying any particular genre is dead has to be one of the lazies things a (supposed) music fan can do. Punk bears the brunt of these types of claims, but I’ve seen virtually every genre from hip-hop to black metal to jazz receive some variation of this critique over the years. Saying this is an indication of laziness more than anything else; given the intersection of genre proliferation and the ease of music discovery, there’s really no excuse for missing the multitude of bands who either pay homage to or actively progress virtually every genre in existence. Post-punk is a solid example of this – so many people are content rocking their Unknown Pleasures shirts and remaining oblivious to the fact that the genre didn’t start and end with Joy Division. There are notable installments made in the genre each year, and with their debut album Lovers Blessings, NYC-based duo Lowlands makes a compelling case for why they’re the post-punk act of the year.
For those who missed our last installment, We post biweekly updates covering what the staff at Heavy Blog have been spinning. Given the amount of time we spend on the site telling you about music that does not fall neatly into the confines of conventional “metal,” it should come as no surprise that many of us on staff have pretty eclectic tastes that range far outside of metal and heavy things. We can’t post about all of them at length here, but we can at least let you know what we’re actually listening to. For those that would like to participate as well (and please do) can drop a 3X3 in the comments, which can be made with tapmusic.net through your last.fm account, or create it manually with topsters.net. Also, consider these posts open threads to talk about pretty much anything music-related. We love hearing all of your thoughts on this stuff and love being able to nerd out along with all of you.
Way back in 2015, Nick, Ryan and Scott kicked off Jazz Club with an in-depth discussion of Kamasi Washington’s phenomenal album The Epic, easily the greatest jazz album of that year and (arguably) the decade thus far. We’ve ventured in different themes since then though, opting for discussions ranging from current events (Ornette Coleman’s passing) to genre starter kits. Today we’re back with a conversation focused exclusively on a recent release that many of us view as a potential jazz AOTY for 2016. This time, Nick jumps aboard with Jazz Club dynamic duo Scott and Jimmy Two for a dissection of IV, the latest offering from Canadian quartet and overall jazz powerhouse BADBADNOTGOOD. The band has leveraged hip-hop, electronic music and jazz to create some of the most exciting music in the genre, so needless to say, we were stoked to see what their fourth proper release had to offer.
Like the grand majority of modern metal fans, our tastes here at Heavy Blog are incredibly vast, with our 3X3s in each Playlist Update typically covering numerous genres and sometimes a different style in each square. While we have occasionally covered non-metal topics in past blog posts, we decided that…
Even a cursory glance of our biweekly “What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To” posts (last weeks update here) will reveal that there is a great deal of variety among our staff’s musical tastes. Due to this, we brainstormed the idea of “Playlist Swap,” another biweekly segment that takes place…